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The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture$
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Alexandra Gajda

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699681.001.0001

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The Essex rising of 1601

The Essex rising of 1601

(p.27) 1 The Essex rising of 1601
The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture

Alexandra Gajda

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the Essex rising of 8 February 1601, and introduces the themes that structure the rest of the book. A narrative explains the context of the events that led to the earl’s protest on the streets of London. Then, analysis focuses on the ways that Essex and his followers conceived of the legitimacy of their actions as a loyalist intervention to save queen and state, and to defend the succession of James VI of Scotland from a court-based conspiracy to enthrone the Spanish Infanta. Government propaganda denied the legitimacy of Essex’s protestations of loyalty, insisting that the rising was a treasonous rebellion, and arguing that Essex’s character and conduct reflected long-standing ambitions to usurp the throne, as Henry Bullingbrook had deposed Richard II. These narratives of Essex’s rising exemplify political and ideological divisions that had emerged over the course of the earl’s later career.

Keywords:   rising, rebellion, earl of Essex, Henry Bullingbrook, Richard II, queen, James VI, treason

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